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Worcester Clerk Answers to Election Commission

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

 

Worcester City Clerk David Rushford responded to questions posed by the Board of Election Commissioners stemming from the confusion over poll observer rules between the City and the Secretary of State's Office during the November election on Monday.

In a written response to questions received from the Board of Election Commissioners, Rushford said he believed the issues surrounding poll observer rules and the Secretary of State's Elections Division had already been resolved.

"It was my understanding at that meeting in December the matter of the Commission's communications with the Secretary of State relative to the November 6, 2012 election was addressed and resolved to everyone's satisfaction," Rushford wrote in a letter to the Election Commission dated Monday.

"If there are any further questions regarding this matter, I'd be happy to discuss them at the appropriate time and in the appropriate forum."

After last month's Election Commission meeting, Commissioner Robert Winant submitted several questions to Rushford stemming from communications between the Commission and the Secretary of State's Office. Rushford had made statements during a meeting that the Secretary's office had adopted new protocols for poll observers, which would require that they present identification and wear a badge while in the polling place.

However, those statements subsequently proved to be incorrect when Michelle Tassinari, legal counsel for the Secretary's Elections Division, wrote to the Election Commission informing them that the state had made no such changes to its rules and highlighting the inconsistencies between Rushford's statements and existing statues.

For Winant, the Clerk's response to his questions was lacking.

"I submitted the questions with the understanding that they would be addressed," Winant said, noting that Rushford stated in his letter that he believes that everything was resolved to everyone's satisfation, but had he felt everything had been resolved to his satisfaction he would not have found it necessary to submit his questions to the Clerk.

"I would like to, if possible, get them addressed in a more detailed manner."

Winant then deferred to his fellow Commissioners and whether they felt the matter had been adequately addressed.

"I personally feel that at a previous meeting when this issue was first brought up that there was lengthy discussion and some protocols were put in place to avoid a communication issue in the future," said Commissioner MaryAnne Dube.

"I've never known Mr. Rushford to be anything but the most honest, upright and forthcoming individual," she continued.

"I don't think that any of the issues were the result of a plan that was put in place but perhaps a lapse in communication," said Dube, noting that under the new protocols with the Secretary of State's Office, the Election Commission can look forward to more open communications between the two entities.

Chairperson Diane Mohieldin, Commissioner John Goggins and Dube all said they were satisfied that the issue had been addressed fully.

Commissioner David Lapierre was not in attendance at Monday night's meeting.

"The Commission as a whole has decided that the matter has been satisfactorily dealt with," said Winant, adding that he would abide by the Commission's decision. 

Worcester, MA: Election Commission Questions

 

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